Barbara and Henry – The Musical
Working with critically acclaimed artist and fizzy-brained superpal Mel Brimfield, Gwyn is building a musical theatrical art film installation that seeks notionally to reconstruct a fictional lost musical about the relationship between British sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Throughout 2014 to 2016, they’ll be working with a variety of collaborative institutions drawn from the worlds of music, theatre and art to build self-contained fragments that feed into the ever-expanding archive of their fictional musical. These jigsaw pieces will become the fabric of the final sprawling installation of multiple simultaneous film projections and monitors, partial sets and props, whilst also working as standalone pieces within their own particular context – each with individual bespoke outreach, workshop and / or performance outcome(s).
EH? Comes the understandably baffled response…
Well, here they are rambling a bit more about the process in Mel’s flat… plus sneak a peak at their open studio residency at the Site Gallery, Sheffield, during which they built a sculptural choir on wheels… and look out for the all-singing-all-dancing next installment during their residency with The Jerwood Gallery, London later this year!
The Palace That Joan Built
Another ever-expanding installation project from Gwyn and Mel, celebrating the life, works and legacy of pioneering theatre director Joan Littlewood.
The project, commissioned by Art on the Underground in partnership with The Theatre Royal Stratford East, launched at Stratford Underground station on Littlewood’s centenary in October of last year with the unveiling of Mel’s witty, colourful artworks and a 3 hour live performance of Gwyn’s Littlewood-inspired compositions: performed by the 5 piece Herbert-band, the 30 piece East London Brass and 20 piece Upbeat Choir… and heard by an audience of 58,000! Here’s a behind-the-scenes film of the day by Jared Schiller.
Currently installed in the station for at least one year is the film component – a heady “montage of attractions” that includes spoof documentary, sound and visual collage, mime, monologue and Socialist magic. The score celebrates Littlewood’s radical world with influences from Hanns Eisler to the Small Faces, old honky-tonk music hall to northern brass band anthems, West End show stoppers to 1950s folk ballads… all brought to life by a varied cast including celebrated jazz vocalist Ian Shaw, an Eisenstein / Bohemian Rhapsody peasant chorus and performance phenomenon and gender disillusionist Dickie Beau playing a range of characters including Littlewood herself.
You can read more about the whole hullabaloo and also hear some of the songs by downloading the free ebook here (yes there’s a book too.)
Frances Ruffelle, (I Say Yeh Yeh, Lovechild Records, October 2015) production and arrangements for bilingual homage to 1960s ye-ye pop
Bourgeois and Maurice, (The Third, Very Attractive Records, 2013) production and arrangements of original songs for neo-cabaret album
iPod / Playlist Series, BBC Radio 4, 2010 to 2014 – musical contributions to series exploring the song preferences and musical legacy of writers and historical figures such as James Joyce, Queen Victoria, Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare.
Jazz Library, BBC Radio 3, 2010-2012 – regular appearances as co-presenter on series exploring the life and works of jazz greats such as Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Nat King Cole and Brad Mehldau.
Voices from the Old Bailey, 2010-2011 – musical contributions to series investigating gripping 18th Century Old Bailey Cases and the ballads that they inspired.
A History of Private Life, BBC Radio 4, 2009 – musical contributions to series with Professor Amanda Vickery exploring the hidden history of the home over 400 years.
Frequent performer and contributor to the Robert Elms Show, BBC London.
TV and Film
The Great American Songbook, BBC 4, 2010 – performance and spoken contributions.
Almost a Legend: The Life and Lyrics of Fran Landesman, 2011 – dir: Mia Vuorio-Ringwald; producer: Terhi Killianen – performance and spoken contributions.
The World of Nat King Cole, BBC4, 2006 – spoken contributions to documentary.